I remember The Honest Pint’s grand opening. It was a chilly night in late December 2010, and downtown Chattanooga had just received an early Christmas present. The memories of Parkway’s reputation were forgotten as I stepped through the double doors and entered into the revamped 35 Patten Parkway.
The chandelier, which had lighted this ancient building for years, shimmered brighter than ever and the floors had never looked so clean. The pool tables, which lined the room to the left of the entrance, had been replaced with a nonsmoking section, something unheard of during the era of Parkway Billiards.
A thought came to me that night after I had downed my third pint of Pabst Blue Ribbon (don’t judge—I was a young and broke college student). I gazed up at the un-replaced door panels lining the ceiling of this ancient building, and I thought about the worlds that lay behind those doors. What startling history could these doors reveal to me about 35 Patten Parkway if they could open up their secrets?
Most people know about Parkway Billiards, which inhabited the building from the early ’90s to 2009. But few people realize that the building once belonged to Alan Gold’s during the ’80s. With the classiest staircase in town, and the swankiest chandelier this side of the Mississippi River, it’s easy to close my eyes and imagine the lovely ladies of Alan Gold’s dancing to fabulous tunes and showcasing their greatest assets in this building.
During the ’70s, the building belonged to “Timothy Staircase,” a fine-dining restaurant owned and operated by Tim Hennen, owner of Chattanooga’s Hennen’s, and before that the building was occupied by a door-manufacturing company. I wonder what they decided to do with all the leftover doors.
Much earlier, in the late 1800s, the building hosted the first Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
“Some people believe that Coca-Cola was first bottled in Atlanta, which is not true,” said Allison Sweatt, general manager of The Honest Pint and historian for my trip down 35 Patten Parkway’s memory lane. “The drink was first bottled here, in this building!”
Unfortunately, the rumor that this building was once a brothel can only remain a rumor. Yet it’s a rumor celebrated so widely by a city that it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. Personally, I will forever believe the brothel story—even if it does happen to be false.